Loire Valley

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ShermansTravel experts rely on years of collective travel experience to bring you the best money-saving tips for your vacation. We take a discerning look at all the attraction passes, public transportation options, and other local bargains to make sure you get the most bang for your buck while traveling.

Loire Valley Money-Saving Tips

Wine tastings

Winemakers in the Loire are generally welcoming. Larger producers have shops with tastings right in the towns of their appellations. For smaller producers, follow the signs for the route des vins – here you may meet the winemakers, but opening times are erratic and English is rare. Note that it’s considered polite to buy at least one bottle.

Rent a car

A car is essential in the countryside. French roads are meticulously maintained, and well signposted. Still, a detailed map or road atlas is essential. Reserving your car from the U.S. will save you considerable money.

Meal times

You must arrive for Lunch between 12:30-2pm and for dinner between 7:30-9:30pm. Outside of those times, your only option is likely to be a (delicious) take-away snack at a boulangerie or charcuterie. Making reservations for dinner is polite – and often essential.

Explore regional wines in local restaurants

Even modest establishments in wine areas will have an extensive list of local wines. Ask advice and be adventuresome.

Double check your train station

Trains leave Paris from six different stations – as well as CDG airport – and many regional cities have more than one station. Tickets should be stamped at machines on the platforms immediately before boarding.

Don't want to go it alone?

Organized tours abound – everything from expert wine tasting tours to escorted bicycle tours. Detours in France can do it all for you: wine, bike, and walking tours (group and self-guided) in three different price/comfort levels.

Getting wine home

Wineries will generally not ship to the U.S. due to complicated state and federal regulations, and you can no longer pack wine in your carry-on. Pad your bottle in a hard-sided suitcase and it will likely survive even the roughest luggage handlers.

Hotel restaurants

Most country hotels also have restaurants, many of them excellent. While they can range from rustic to gourmet, most feature regional specialties and fresh local products. The Chateau de la Verrerie, Chateau de Marcay, Hostellerie du Chateau de l’Isle, and Manoir de la Giraudiere all have fine restaurants.

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